Posts Tagged ‘Field of Dreams’

Iowa General Assembly adjourns without further damage (update – they got some damage in)

Thursday, May 10th, 2012 by Joe Kristan

It could have been much worse.

The 150 elected supergeniuses at the Iowa legislature weren’t shy about deciding what forms of energy production deserve your tax money, and they also invested tax dollars in a private baseball park in Dyersville.  Still, they at least avoided making taxpayers pay for other peoples “innovative” investments or ESOP consultants.

The legislature failed to pass the Governor’s highest priority, a reform of Iowa’s commercial property taxes, though they did vote to curb some of the worst abuses of TIF districts.

Bills that passed include:

  • TIF Reform. HF 2460, the TIF reform, keeps taxpayers from diverting TIF receipts and requires audits of projects.  It’s a small step against local crony capitalism.
  • Field of Dreams.  The legislature passed and the Governor signed a bill (SF 2329) to let an athletic complex built on the location of the Kevin Costner movie to keep sales taxes it collects.  The movie says “if you build it, they will come.”  The legislation says “If you lobby hard enough, they’ll vote for almost anything.”  Any bill passed for the benefit of a specific taxpayer is by definition bad policy.
  • Tax Credits for green energy.SF 2342 provides “tax credits for the construction and installation of solar energy systems and geothermal heat pumps, modifying sales and use tax provisions related to property purchased for resale, and creating a sales tax exemption for certain items purchased for use in providing vehicle wash and wax services.”  Because the Iowa legislature knows better than you how you should heat your house.

Bills that died, mercifully:

It’s unfortunate that the legislature couldn’t agree on a way to improve Iowa’s awful commercial property tax, but maybe we’ll be better off in the long run making it an issue in the upcoming election.  It would be even better if they would take up the issue of tax reform generally.  I suppose an election over the merits of the Quick and Dirty Iowa Tax Reform Plan would be too much to hope for.

The Quad City Times has more coverage of the end of the session.

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Branstad to sign off on Field of Dreams Giveaway, 185% increase in Earned Income Credit?

Friday, April 6th, 2012 by Joe Kristan

The Branstad administration isn’t giving much reason for hope on Iowa tax policy this week.  Having already embraced even more special breaks for ESOPs and “anchor manufacturers” in Iowa’s byzantine income tax, today’s news indicates that he has more blows in store to sound tax policy.

First, from THonline.com:Branstad ‘inclined’ to sign bill for ‘Field of Dreams’” This bill allows a planned sports complex on the “Field of Dreams” film site to keep sales tax it collects for itself.  The Newton race track has a similar deal.  A legislator who voted against the bill pointed out the obvious:

That feels too much like “picking winners and losers,” said Sen. Jack Whitver, R-Ankeny, and suggests to other development projects or business ventures that lobbying lawmakers is the key to securing lucrative tax breaks.

“I just don’t like the fact these groups have to hire a lobbyist, come down here and basically win us over on their project,” he said.

Lobby it, and they will come.

Meanwhile, there’s this from The Des Moines Register:Branstad would sign earned income tax credit to get property tax deal.”  Iowa’s earned income credit is now 7% of the fraud-ridden federal credit.  Iowa Senate leaders propose to raise this to 20%.  This credit is touted as a tax break, but as it is paid as cash if it exceeds income tax, it is really a cash welfare program.  It phases out as income increases, imposing tremendously-high marginal rates on the working poor — punishing them for improving their lot.

The Governor’s party is two votes away from having a majority in the Iowa Senate.  He could try to sell his policies hard enough to win those two seats and pass his (needed) property tax reforms without a huge welfare expenditure.  That doesn’t seem to be part of the plan, and Iowa drifts ever further from sound tax policy.

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Tax Roundup, 3/29/12

Thursday, March 29th, 2012 by Joe Kristan

Jacob Sullum at Reason reminds us that even if Obamacare survives the Supreme Court, the penalty for not buying insurance will be a collection nightmare for the IRS.

Instant Tax Service, the nations “fourth largest” tax preparer, should be shut down, according to a Department of Justice lawsuit.  Trish McIntire has some useful background, including an attempt by Instant Tax Service to intimidate her into pulling a post mentioning ITS problems.

William Gale at TaxVox says Ryan Would Shift the Fiscal Burden to Low and Middle-Income Households.  News flash, William: the Rich Guy isn’t buying.

20080701-1.JPGRamona Cunningham, serving time in federal prison for looting an obscure Iowa “jobs training” agency, continues to hustle the taxpayer.  She has collected over $150,000 in state pension payments while paying only $1,100 in restitution

The   “Field of Dreams” tax hustle, which could allow an athletic complex proposed at the site where the Kevin Costner movie was filmed to keep sales taxes it collects for itself, advanced from the Iowa Senate Ways and Means Committee yesterday.   Our legislators are slow to catch on.

The Ukraine dictatorship presses more tax charges against former president Yulia Tymoshenko, reminding us that presidential humor about using the IRS as a weapon isn’t funny.

 

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